The Great Gatsby

Today, The Great Gatsby is usually considered one of the great American novels comparable to such classics as Huckleberry Finn and Moby Dick. However, this was far from true back in 1925 when F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the novel. The most obvious reason for its unpopularity was the books condemnation of life in the 20s as empty and meaningless, but another reason was also suggested in one of the three links: a lack of likable female characters. This may seem a little far stretched, but women do tend to read more fiction novels than men, so they would not have given the book a good reputation. In fact, Fitzgerald’s novel held so little esteem that he was, according to the Denver Post, unable to find a copy of his own book in the stores to give to his mistress.

During the 1940’s and 50’s (Shortly after Fitzgerald’s death), readers began to realize how deeply meaningful and seemingly prophetic the novel was, partly due to the distribution of thousands upon thousands of copies to soldiers during World War Two. Since these men were significantly removed from the life which Gatsby condemns and obviously didn’t have the same problem women did with the lack of good women in the novel, they were much more able and willing to understand and accept the themes of the novel. Ever since this initial popularity with the soldiers, Americans have come to love The Great Gatsby more and more. In fact, people such as Maureen Corrigan, who has read Gatsby more than 50 times, are so enthusiastic about this novel that it is almost guaranteed a long future as a hallmark of American literature.


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